General Discussions & Updates

In this post, I will share the easiest way to understand the pattern and syllabus of UPSC Civil Services exam as required to know by anyone before starting preparing for it.

As you know there are 3 levels of examination in UPSC CSE – Prelims, Mains, Interview – all are mandatory to clear with a separate score. I will tell you the pattern of each level so that you can understand what is the criteria to get selected in UPSC CSE and then, go ahead to prepare for UPSC.
In my earlier posts, like how to make your mind for UPSC CSE preparation, if you haven’t read that, read it here – Read this before starting preparation for UPSC-CSE. As one should be properly ready for this examination, it takes lot of time and dedication which may not be possible for everyone. Even just preparing for a charm to become IAS or IPS is not a good idea as your 30-35 year will be taken by the Government of India and you will have to work where you may not like.


1. Prelims- the first step comes Prelims that usually happens every in June month. In these 2 papers are taken by UPSC. First paper – General Knowledge in which 100 questions are asked each of 2 marks means total 200 marks and the next exams happens on the same day is of General Aptitude – It is of 200 marks divided among 80 questions.
However, the cutoff is decided only on the basis of the first paper whereas, the second exam is of qualifying nature. You have to bring only 33% in the second paper i.e., 66 marks out of 200 but it won’t be included in the cutoff.
2. Mains- There are important seven papers of subjective type plus 2 language papers of qualifying in nature. Out of seven papers, two papers are from an optional subject that you choose.
There 2 other papers that are qualifying in nature is of the English language and one other language you can choose and qualify. Both are taken with and before the seven Main papers.
Then, comes Paper-I- Essay writing in which two essays you have to write. The paper is divided into 2 parts and in each part, there are 4 titles and anyone you can select and write 1000 words on it. This is a very important section to score based on your knowledge and understanding on the topic so wisely choose the topic is important.
Paper-II- General Studies in which Indian Heritage, Culture, Geography, History related questions are asked. You have to give your answers within 3 hours. These topics you have to read for prelims also so be prepare form your initial days of preparation.
Paper-III- Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations. You must have read these subjects from the beginning, so just writing of answers is required that’s why I told to make habit of writing.
Paper-IV- Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity Environment, Security and disaster. These subjects are also required to read for prelims.
Paper- V- Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude- These subjects you might not have read for prelims but it is an easy one to score as you have not to write the learned answers instead you have to write what you think after reading the questions so that you can be evaluated based on this.
Then comes, Paper VI & Paper VII- Optional paper- These two papers are taken from one optional subject you choose. There are 48 optional subjects out of which one you have to select and most of them are regional language subjects including English and Sanskrit. Below I have provided the detailed syllabus of each optional subject. download and take print of it.
You can choose a language or related to your background to score more as these optional subjects can let you score more and increase your rank. So, you choose the subject wisely.
I would help you understand the options to choose but you know yourself better than me. You can decide by reading the syllabus and which subject you like the most.

Score evaluation:

Each paper from Paper-1 to Paper-VII are of 250 marks and each paper contains 20 questions for which you have to give 200-250 word answer within 180 minutes of time.
  • A total score of subjective papers – 250*7= 1750 marks
Then, comes an Interview– It is taken by those who clear Mains. The ratio in this usually 1:2 means out of 2 candidates only 1 will appear in the final list. This is also important in its aspect in which 5 individual panel sits each has 75 marks to give the candidate. That means you have to score in Interview out of 275 marks. In UPSC Interview, you don’t generally fail but if you score less, it may difficult to make in the final list.

That means total score comes out of 2025 marks and you will decide what service you are going to join based on the final cutoff. Best of luck for the preparation – Click here again to download UPSC syllabus with details chapter-wise topics

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